Editorial . May . 2013

Let the music begin

Through numerous issues of ECS NEPAL we have established that ultimately there will be very few professions in the world and music will definitely be one of them. In Nepal and globally the status of musicians and their financial conditions are improving; and is a clear indication of how far this ancient profession has come along. The Internet, MP3, the magnetic tape, the Walkman, and the old records have certainly helped take music globally at a much more rapid pace than before. The elder singers in Nepal tell us of the days when they had to go to the premises of Radio Nepal in Singha Durbar and then wait till they were called in to sing directly into the microphone. There were no recording facilities then. The recent phenomenon of the song and music video spreading “virally” across the world via YouTube, like the Gangnam Style video from South Korea, is another indication of things to come. Few understand the lyrics but everyone loves the beat and the moves that go with it.

With the expansion of FM radio stations across Nepal, the Internet, mobile phones and TV, the Nepali singer and musician should have no problem getting the product out there. The key is the content and meeting the ever growing expectations of the fans and general audience. It is also not enough to be lucky once. There are many singers and musicians who have “fifteen minutes of fame” and then disappear off the charts and off the stage and public eye. This issue of ECS NPAL looks at the folk music scene in Nepal, the people, their lyrics and their life. We also take a look at the influence of singers from the West that have inspired and influenced the local music scene. We know you will enjoy learning about all aspects of Nepali folk music as well.
The Newari alcoholic drink aaila is making a real comeback and that too in style. From observing a demonstration on how to make good aaila to buying the commercially available bottled aaila, the culture behind the traditional fermented and distilled drink is still strong. It has become a welcome drink in many events and special occasions and continues to be served in the traditional clay salee. As the monsoon approaches, we need to make sure we grow a bumper harvest so that the surplus can be set aside to make more aila.

In this issue of ECS NEPAL, we also have stories about the craft school that has been at the forefront of serving the economically weaker section of society and about the people who craft musical instruments both as a family tradition and increasingly as a very viable business venture. The Bisket Jatra at Bhaktapur is over for a year and we have some great images to help us remember what happened in the historical city. As usual we cover your choice of places including spas and the many events in town and around Nepal, and review good publications in each issue of ECS NEPAL. This one is no exception. We know you will enjoy every page of this current issue. Whatever you are doing this month, please make some time for the Nepali way.